Guide: When can consumers buy pot on Long Island?

The state Cannabis Control Board issued licenses this week for the last leg of the recreational marijuana supply chain: retail dispensaries.

Three dozen organizations received the first of roughly 150 “conditonal” retail dispensary licenses the state plans to issue over the coming months. They may soon offer anyone 21 or older products from farmers, who have the authority to grow cannabis, and processors, who can transform the plant into joints, vape catridges and brownies.

The initial licenses were reserved for New Yorkers directly impacted by the criminalization of marijuana or with experience handlng hemp, which comes from the same plant species as marijuana, but contains less of the compound that produces a high.

The state is preparing to open licenses up to a broader range of entrepreneurs. 

 

While some Long Islanders have questions about how soon they can buy cannabis, others are concerned about where the retail locations will be. Here’s what we know:

When can I buy cannabis? 

Seven businesses received licenses Monday to sell marijuana on Long Island, which may allow them to start making home deliveries in a couple of weeks, according to Chris Alexander, executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management, which writes regulations for the cannabis industry.

He said the licensees will need to get through paperwork before they can start making the rounds. 

The retailers will not be able to make sales through third-party platforms like Uber and will need to verify that consumers are at least 21, the Office of Cannabis Management said.

What if I want to examine and pick out products in person?

At least one pot store will open somewhere in the state by the end of 2022, Alexander said. But the state hasn’t shared information on where the first retail stores may be located.

The state’s construction financing team, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, will help the first licensees secure and set up dispensaries. Initially, the state is prioritizing dispensary applications from business owners who have been convicted — or are related to someone who has been convicted — of offenses under the old marijuana laws.

When can I go to shops on the Island?

It’s unclear. The Dormitory Authority has declined to share how many retail storefronts it has located or how much money has been raised for a social equity fund launched to support the endeavor.

The state plans to open licenses up to the broader business community later, but not for months.

Will I have more options beyond what these seven businesses stock?

Not for a while. The state proposed rules Monday for additional retail dispensary, distributor and microbusiness licenses; the public has 60 days to comment on the plan.

The first farming and processing credentials went to those who have worked with hemp. The state’s proposal envisions more New Yorkers having access to cultivator and processor credentials as well.

The state later also intends to create licenses for consumption lounges and delivery businesses.

How many Long Island towns have opted to allow retail marijuana sales and consumption?

Four towns — Riverhead, Babylon, Brookhaven and Southampton — have opted in to allow retail cannabis sales and consumption.

Have the towns adopted any regulations?

Riverhead, Babylon and Brookhaven have adopted legislation that would restrict where dispensaries could operate in the towns. The legislation would put these establishments in more commercial areas and away from downtown locations. Southampton Town has not yet approved any regulations.

Will pot businesses open near schools?

All towns have or will implement regulations to keep cannabis business away from K-12 education facilities, libraries, parks, playgrounds, child care centers, youth organizations, dance studios, batting cages, gymnasiums or other venues where minors congregate.

What regulations did Brookhaven adopt?

Brookhaven led the charge on implementing regulations when officials approved a zoning amendment in August 2021 that banned pot sales within 500 feet of homes or 1,000 feet of schools, houses of worship, hospitals, libraries, parks, playgrounds, gyms, dance studios or at common gathering places.

Where does Babylon stand on regulations?

In Babylon, similar regulations were passed on Oct. 12. The legislation would allow dispensaries, consumption sites and microbusinesses only in areas zoned industrial and would prohibit them from operating within a 1,000-foot radius of a residential area.

When did Riverhead pass legislation?

On Nov. 1, the Riverhead Town Board voted to adopt regulations on recreational marijuana sales and consumption. Riverhead’s regulations state the latest that retail establishments can sell cannabis products is 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 p.m. for sales at on-site consumption sites on Friday and Saturday.

The town will allow cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption sites to operate only in certain sections of town, including Riverhead’s Business Center, shopping centers, destination retail centers, rural corridors, the village center, downtown centers, the Peconic River Community and other business districts.

When will Southampton pass regulations?

Southampton Town is in talks about potential legislation, but officials said they were waiting for further guidance from the state.

The state Cannabis Control Board issued licenses this week for the last leg of the recreational marijuana supply chain: retail dispensaries.

Three dozen organizations received the first of roughly 150 “conditonal” retail dispensary licenses the state plans to issue over the coming months. They may soon offer anyone 21 or older products from farmers, who have the authority to grow cannabis, and processors, who can transform the plant into joints, vape catridges and brownies.

The initial licenses were reserved for New Yorkers directly impacted by the criminalization of marijuana or with experience handlng hemp, which comes from the same plant species as marijuana, but contains less of the compound that produces a high.

The state is preparing to open licenses up to a broader range of entrepreneurs. 

 

While some Long Islanders have questions about how soon they can buy cannabis, others are concerned about where the retail locations will be. Here’s what we know:

When can I buy cannabis? 

Seven businesses received licenses Monday to sell marijuana on Long Island, which may allow them to start making home deliveries in a couple of weeks, according to Chris Alexander, executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management, which writes regulations for the cannabis industry.

He said the licensees will need to get through paperwork before they can start making the rounds. 

The retailers will not be able to make sales through third-party platforms like Uber and will need to verify that consumers are at least 21, the Office of Cannabis Management said.

What if I want to examine and pick out products in person?

At least one pot store will open somewhere in the state by the end of 2022, Alexander said. But the state hasn’t shared information on where the first retail stores may be located.

The state’s construction financing team, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, will help the first licensees secure and set up dispensaries. Initially, the state is prioritizing dispensary applications from business owners who have been convicted — or are related to someone who has been convicted — of offenses under the old marijuana laws.

When can I go to shops on the Island?

It’s unclear. The Dormitory Authority has declined to share how many retail storefronts it has located or how much money has been raised for a social equity fund launched to support the endeavor.

The state plans to open licenses up to the broader business community later, but not for months.

Will I have more options beyond what these seven businesses stock?

Not for a while. The state proposed rules Monday for additional retail dispensary, distributor and microbusiness licenses; the public has 60 days to comment on the plan.

The first farming and processing credentials went to those who have worked with hemp. The state’s proposal envisions more New Yorkers having access to cultivator and processor credentials as well.

The state later also intends to create licenses for consumption lounges and delivery businesses.

Associate Abhi Tadoari assisting a customer during the 2019 opening...

Associate Abhi Tadoari assisting a customer during the 2019 opening of Curaleaf, a medical marijuana dispensary in Carle Place.
Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

How many Long Island towns have opted to allow retail marijuana sales and consumption?

Four towns — Riverhead, Babylon, Brookhaven and Southampton — have opted in to allow retail cannabis sales and consumption.

Have the towns adopted any regulations?

Riverhead, Babylon and Brookhaven have adopted legislation that would restrict where dispensaries could operate in the towns. The legislation would put these establishments in more commercial areas and away from downtown locations. Southampton Town has not yet approved any regulations.

Will pot businesses open near schools?

All towns have or will implement regulations to keep cannabis business away from K-12 education facilities, libraries, parks, playgrounds, child care centers, youth organizations, dance studios, batting cages, gymnasiums or other venues where minors congregate.

What regulations did Brookhaven adopt?

Brookhaven led the charge on implementing regulations when officials approved a zoning amendment in August 2021 that banned pot sales within 500 feet of homes or 1,000 feet of schools, houses of worship, hospitals, libraries, parks, playgrounds, gyms, dance studios or at common gathering places.

Where does Babylon stand on regulations?

In Babylon, similar regulations were passed on Oct. 12. The legislation would allow dispensaries, consumption sites and microbusinesses only in areas zoned industrial and would prohibit them from operating within a 1,000-foot radius of a residential area.

When did Riverhead pass legislation?

On Nov. 1, the Riverhead Town Board voted to adopt regulations on recreational marijuana sales and consumption. Riverhead’s regulations state the latest that retail establishments can sell cannabis products is 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 p.m. for sales at on-site consumption sites on Friday and Saturday.

The town will allow cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption sites to operate only in certain sections of town, including Riverhead’s Business Center, shopping centers, destination retail centers, rural corridors, the village center, downtown centers, the Peconic River Community and other business districts.

When will Southampton pass regulations?

Southampton Town is in talks about potential legislation, but officials said they were waiting for further guidance from the state.

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